As we look into chapter 10 of Second Samuel there is something that we can glean that is not necessarily a spiritual lesson, but it is indeed a practical one. As David tries to show respect for his friend king of Ammon who has just died he receives a response that he was not at all ready for. We do have to keep in mind that David, in the recent past, found himself around some un-savory people to say the least. Although David had an alliance with Hanun’s father, this man was not a friend to Israel. Hanun’s father was an enemy of Saul and therefore became in alliance with David. The people of Ammon were not the most trustworthy people, therefore they did not trust others either. I have noticed when counseling couples that the individual who is the most jealous usually is so because they themselves have been unfaithful in the relationship. We tend to view other people in a way that reflects our own thoughts and characteristics. These untrustworthy men did not trust others because they realized that they, in the same circumstances, would act in an evil way. Hanun was persuaded by counsel to act the way in which he did; Hanun foolishly surrounded himself with evil people. Psalm chapter one is one of the psalms that is ambiguous as to who the author is. I have to wonder if David wrote the first Psalm with Hanun in mind. Here is the first verse of Psalm 1 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of the sinner, nor seats in the seat of the scornful…”
Once again we see the heart of David in reaching out to Hanun in the same way that he did for Mephibosheth, trying to show kindness. I used to feel ignorant when falling into the trap of being naive but in all reality, naivety can be a good reflection of the heart.
Looking in chapter 11, we see David falls into the sin that he is most known for. I believe that any one looking at this low point in David’s life has to wonder how he could suddenly fall into such a pit of terrible sin. David was a man after God’s own heart, those are God’s words, not mine. We see in reading these chapters in First and Second Samuel that David “sat before the Lord.” That statement means that he prayed so long, that he could no longer physically kneel. David was chosen by God as the youngest son of the smallest tribe; he was the 8th son in the line of Jesse. David was humble, honored God and was respected among all people. Yet, in one fell swoop, he became an adulterer, liar, deceiver and murderer. If you would have asked this new king, just one week prior to the incident with Bathsheba, if he thought that he would be capable of such things, he would have emphatically said no. So, we must ask; what happened?
I believe that we see the answer in the very beginning of the chapter. It states that it was in the spring time when kings go off to war; but David remained at Jerusalem. We see that pride has slipped into David’s life and he probably was not even aware of it. David had led many battles in the past and kings usually went out to lead their troops; but David did not this spring. Although I was not there, I can picture the men around David telling him what a wonderful king he truly was. Israel was doing great and their enemies were almost vanquished on all sides of them. I can imagine Joab and other leaders explaining to David that he was just too important to be going out to fight. After all; what would the people do if David were to die. After hearing this for some time, I imagine, David begins to believe it. David probably began to think that indeed Israel would be lost without him. This train of thought gives little room for God being the reason for Israel’s success. Non the less David stayed home.
David is now in a place that he simply was not to be. David finds himself on the lofty balcony of his palace looking over a kingdom of women with husbands who are off to war. David becomes tempted and then gives in to that temptation. I’m sure it wasn’t immediate, I would bet that he walked back and forth nervously on his balcony. I don’t believe that he just caught a glimpse of this woman and then had her brought to him. He most likely pondered and thought about it. He went from a glance to a look, then from a look to a stair. In those days people lived inside walled areas. They would bathe outside because they had no running water or cast iron tubs. No one would be able to see someone who was bathing, but the king could from his elevated platform. If David had not been where he was not supposed to be, none of this mess would have ever happened. If David had not become prideful, he would have been where he was supposed to be, with his men in battle.
When teaching the True Love Waits program to students for years, I used these verses to get a point across. The point is that we should always realize that there is nothing below us. James 1:14-15 states “every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed, then lust when it has conceived bringeth forth sin and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death.” It is not that we as followers of Christ are strong enough to not fall into temptation, but that we should not be so prideful as to say “that would never happen to me.” When we begin to think that sin is below us, we lose our guard and no longer become concerned with the things in which we are involved in. But in humility, we realize that we need to stay away from temptation. We should even stay away from any scenario that may lead us into temptation. I always told students that a decision not to have sex before marriage is not good enough. There has to be a plan. Set up stops that prevent the possibility if you want to succeed. A student who has made up their mind that they are going to abstain from sex before marriage as God has ordained, should never be alone with their boy/girl friend. None of us should be so prideful as to flirt with disaster. We should take on the traits of Joseph when being pursued by Potipher’s wife and run. Not walk, not jog, but run!
David and the nation of Israel will pay dearly for the sin of David when sadly it all could have been avoided if he were just where he was supposed to be. I can only imagine how many problems we would avoid if we were just where we needed to be.